Peninsula Landlord Charged with Discriminating Against Family with Young Children

Federal officials have charged owners of a Burlingame apartment building with discriminating against a family with two young children.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this week announced it is bringing charges against Melinda Teruel and the Melinda Bautista Teruel 1992 Revocable Trust for violating fair housing law by allegedly pressuring the family to rent a larger unit in the complex.

The couple started renting a one-bedroom unit in the complex in 2017 while expecting their first child. Even before they moved into the apartment, Teruel was unhappy a child would be living in the unit and suggested the couple rent a larger, more expensive unit instead, officials said.

After learning the couple was expecting a second child in 2019, Teruel increasingly pressured them to move to a new unit, insisting their children would damage the apartment, according to the complaint in the case.

Feeling harassed and worried about being evicted, the family moved out of the complex in the summer of 2020. The couple filed a complaint with HUD the following year.

Teruel could not be immediately reached for comment.

The case will be heard by a federal administrative law judge. If the judge finds the couple was discriminated against, the family could be awarded damages.

“The Department’s commitment to vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act has real-life impact for families with children, pregnant individuals and the communities we serve,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s principal deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.